Women in Bizz is Bumble’s latest approach to digital networking.
By Courtney Runn, Photo courtesy of Bumble
This month, Bumble released its latest tool to help women network: Women in Bizz. A special feature within Bumble Bizz, the tool allows users to make professional connections only with other women.
While Bumble launched in 2014 solely as a dating app, Founder Whitney Wolfe Herd always envisioned a product that could cultivate more than romantic relationships.
“When the dating side became successful, people were wanting to find friends and wanting to find business connections,” says Alex Williamson, Bumble’s chief brand officer. “It was something we saw a need for almost immediately.”
Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz let users do just that; instead of swiping right for romantic interests, you can now swipe to find a new brunch pal or business partner. Nondigital networking events limit potential connections to that physical space, but with Bumble Bizz, women can match with potential mentors, mentees, partners and investors, knowing everyone’s intention on the app is to network.
“I think every woman can relate to the story where you thought you were going into a job interview or a networking situation that turned into feeling like a date,” Williamson says. “And we didn’t want that to happen for women, and so, having women make the first move is really important to us, and then having a space where women can really network and champion each other was also something that we always wanted.”
During South By Southwest panel How Women Are Rebuilding a Man-made Internet, Williamson joined the founders of Blue Fever and O.school to discuss the way digital spaces affect women, and the lack of space designed by women and for women. Many prominent digital platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, LinkedIn, Venmo, GroupMe, to name a few—were founded by white men, and despite women making more than 80 percent of purchasing decisions, it’s men who are often behind the products women purchase.
“Product experience dictates who we are and how we feel about the world,” Williamson said on the panel.
Rules and expectations for conduct were often lacking in the early days of the internet and social media, but Bumble is committed to reshaping the way users interact on its platform and ensuring its product reflects the women behind company.
In 2016, the company published a letter, which quickly went viral, banning a user from the app. After a user alerted Bumble to a man’s “abuse” via messaging toward his match, the company was quick to respond. On the panel, Williamson said actions like that prove Bumble’s commitment to its core values and to setting expectations for appropriate digital interactions. Women in Bizz is its latest—but surely not its last—approach to living out the Bumble values and brand every day.
“We are a mission-based company and our mission is to end misogyny,” Williamson says. “And it helps guide every decision that we make, every hire we make, everything that comes through the door at Bumble.”